May – China

Get your Forrest Gump on! It’s time to run a marathon along the Great Wall of China.

(Everything) is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter – Mark Twain, literary icon

The Plan: To spend one month training for and running the Great Wall Marathon in China. Training will include running the 800m of steps alongside the mid-level escalators in Hong Kong and climbing to Victoria Peak, Hong Kong’s highest point, some 554m above sea level.

I’ve never been a runner. In fact the word run, when associated with me is a bit of a stretch. A shuffle would best describe my technique and speed. But in the early noughties, while living in the UK, I decided to get my Forrest Gump on anyway – I just kept on running. I ran kilometre after kilometre for no other reason than I just felt like running. That spawned a desire to one day run a marathon. But not just any marathon, one of the hardest in the world – The Great Wall Marathon. 5164 steps along the Great Wall followed by a maze of roads and tracks in the surrounding peasant villages, which combine to form part of a 42.1km odyssey that is so tough very few have ever attempted it, let alone finished. I figure I’m probably only going to do one marathon in my life and if my body’s going to melt down in exhaustion, I’d rather it be on top of one of the world’s most astonishing structures than in the gutter of a city road somewhere.

Fast Facts:

-1748 people ran the Great Wall Marathon in 2010.

-Organisers recommend runners leave their watches at home because kilometre averages quickly go out the window.

-The Great Wall Marathon must be completed in 8 hours. Runners are cut-off at the 32km mark if they are not there within 6 hours – yikes!

-Entry costs about $1500 – that’s an expensive walk around the block.

-The first section of the course covers approximately 9km up, across and down the Great Wall. It is marked by steep ascents and descents of up to 10 per cent. Marathoners complete this section of the course twice.

-The second section of the course takes runners through picturesque villages and rice fields.

-Well-prepared runners should be able to complete the marathon in 5-6 hours.

  1. admin says:

    Go! Go! Go

  2. Lachlan says:

    How is your training going?!!